Iconic Derbyshire firm supports NHS

Iconic Derbyshire firm supports NHS

Following an introduction by the investment team at Marketing Derby, historic Derbyshire-based clothing manufacturer John Smedley is working with Bondholder the University Hospitals of Derby and Burton NHS Foundation Trust to provide much-needed PPE.

John Smedley has opened a special area at its Lea Mills factory, dedicated to creating medical grade fabric scrub garments for the NHS, care homes and other businesses in need. Having sourced hospital-approved fabrics, a team of volunteer lock-stitchers, seamers and over-lockers have already produced the first batch of just over 1,000 pairs of scrubs.

Ian Maclean, Managing Director, said:

"Despite not being cut-and-sew garment specialists, I am pleased to be able to turn our company’s skills into the useful production of hospital approved scrubs for the NHS and care homes. Covid-19 presents us all with huge challenges, and we are keen to play our part in meeting them, even in a small way."

John Smedley was created in 1784 and is the oldest manufacturing factory in the world. Throughout World Wars I and II, John Smedley produced underwear for the front line troops, under contract to the Government, as part of a huge re-organisation of industry that was geared towards the war effort.

While the Government hasn’t formally contracted British manufacturers to produce PPE in the UK during the current Covid-19 crisis, an informal network of designers, manufacturers and individual machinists has sprung up across the country to take up the challenge. John Smedley has joined the effort and chosen to work with the ‘Emergency Design Network’, led by fashion designers Holly Fulton, Phoebe English, Bethany Williams & Cozette McCreery, to obtain materials and patterns that are approved by the NHS.

New machine arrangements have been designed to facilitate social distancing, digital thermometers will be utilised to check temperature, and PPE will be deployed to enhance safe working. Ian Maclean added:

"The health of our staff also remains paramount and we will ensure they are offered protection at all times. We cannot thank them enough for their positive attitude in taking part in this project. I will be joining them each day to pick and pack the orders for the NHS as well."

All garments produced will be distributed to local hospitals, GP surgeries and care homes in the East Midlands and London free of charge.

Maya Yates, Marketing Derby Inward Investment Executive, added:

"We are delighted that Derbyshire-based John Smedley is now manufacturing scrubs for the NHS. Derbyshire is the UK capital for innovation and Derbyshire's manufacturing companies are certainly showcasing innovation during the Covid19 crisis."

For more information or to enquire about additional garment requirements from John Smedley, please contact Jess Mcguire-Dudley, Design & Marketing Director on jessmcguire-dudley@johnsmedley.com / 07463288446.

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